478 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP.
Imperial Bank of Persia. This British enterprise was
started with a capital of one million sterling1 and with the
right to issue bank-notes. It was also granted the ex-
ploitation of the mineral resources of Persia, with the
exception of precious stones, gold, and silver.2 At first
the managers of the institution bought their experience
somewhat dearly ; and the sudden and apparently perma-
nent depreciation of silver constituted a heavy loss. But to-
day, after carrying on operations for a quarter of a century,
the position of the Bank is fully recognized ; and it can
claim to have become a Persian institution of special value
both to the Government and to merchants.
The Tobacco Rtgie, 1890-1892.óLess fortunate than
the Imperial Bank of Persia was the fate of the Tobacco
R6gie. This ill-judged concession gave full control over
the production, sale, and export of all tobacco in Persia.
In return for these rights a sum of £15,000 was to be
paid annually to the Shah ; in addition, after the working
expenses and 5 per cent had been set aside, His Majesty
was to receive one quarter of the profits. The concession
affected the position of tobacco - growers, sellers, and
smokers alike; and in Persia both men and women
smoke regularly. Its gross unfairness was aggravated
.by the fact that many of the employes were drawn from
a somewhat low class and by the lack of tact displayed
in dealing with Persian rights. In short, first public in-
dignation and then fanaticism was aroused. Haji Mirza
Hasan Shirazi, the leading divine, placed an interdict on
smoking, and the order was obeyed throughout the land,
the royal palace being no exception. Finally, after dis-
turbances had broken out and intense hostility had been
displayed towards Europeans, the Shah cancelled the con-
cession and agreed to pay compensation.
The Assassination of Nasir-u-Din, 1896.óBy Moslem
calculation Nasir-u-Din had reigned for fifty years in
1896. Preparations were being made to celebrate the
1 On the constitution of the Bank, de Renter recovered his caution-money ; he also
received a premium of £2 per share when the capital was issued. I have to thank Mr.
G. Newell, Chief Manager of the Bank, for the above information.
2 The mining rights were sold to the Persian Bank Mining Rights Corporation in
1890, which proved a failure.